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Perfect secrecy has come a step closer with the launch of the world's first computer network protected by unbreakable quantum encryption at a scientific conference in Vienna. The network connects six locations across Vienna and in the nearby town of St Poelten, using 200 km of standard commercial fibre optic cables. Quantum cryptography is completely different from the kinds of security schemes used on computer networks today. These are typically based on complex mathematical procedures which are extremely hard for outsiders to crack, but not impossible given sufficient computing resources or time. But quantum systems use the laws of quantum theory, which have been shown to be inherently unbreakable. .....
From the detected photons, a totally secret numerical key can be distilled, which encodes the users' data much like the keys used in normal computer networks do.
The advantage is that no-one else can know the key without revealing themselves.
As we saw in the demonstration: when an intruder did try to listen in on the quantum exchange, photons became scrambled, and a rise in the error rate at the node detectors signalled the attack. The system automatically shut down without being compromised.
More importantly, the demonstration also showed that the network is robust.
If one quantum link breaks down, the connections can be re-routed via other nodes, much as phone calls get re-routed automatically through a telecoms network, so that any two users on the network can remain in continuous secure contact.
Non-speakers would find it extremely difficult to accurately distinguish unfamiliar sounds used in these languages. Additionally, a speaker who has acquired a language during their childhood sounds distinctly different from a person who acquired the same language in later life, thus reducing the chance of successful impostors sending false messages. Finally, the additional layer of an alphabet cypher was added to prevent interception by native speakers not trained as code talkers, in the event of their capture by the Japanese.
Navajo in particular was an attractive choice for code use because few people outside the Navajo themselves had ever learned to speak the language and virtually no books in Navajo had ever been published. Outside of the language itself, the Navajo spoken code was not very complex by cryptographic standards and would likely have been broken if a native speaker and trained cryptographers worked together effectively. The Japanese had an opportunity to attempt this when they captured Joe Kieyoomia in the Philippines in 1942 during the Bataan Death March. Kieyoomia, a Navajo Sergeant in the U.S. Army, was ordered to interpret the radio messages later in the war. However, since Kieyoomia had not participated in the code training, the messages made no sense to him. The Japanese Imperial Army and Navy never cracked the spoken code, and high ranking military officers have stated that the United States would never have won the Battle of Iwo Jima without the secrecy afforded by the code talkers.
Originally posted by Badge01
At times, we may work too hard to accomplish things by high tech means when there are simpler methods available.
Originally posted by Pyros
Interesting article. However, one small point: The US has had a Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) System up and operational for the last 5 years. See the following:
QKD at BBN Technologies
Originally posted by zsrgt
However, 'feasibly unbreakable' encryption is already here and has been for a long time. There are many open-source / public algorithms that if you tried to brute force by exhausting the key-space would require an incomprehensible amount of time or silicon.
It may be surprising to the reader that there exist simple ``perfect'' encryption methods, meaning that there is a mathematical proof that cryptanalysis is impossible. The term ``perfect'' in cryptography also means that after an opponent receives the ciphertext he has no more information than before receiving the ciphertext. The simplest of these perfect methods is called the one-time pad.
At the end of the day though, there is always one way to break any encryption, be it quantum or otherwise, you just need a chair, some rope and rubber hose. Eventually, you will talk.